Nov 18, 2017

Heartbreak 101

Finding fulfillment after heartbreak can seem difficult. What should you keep in mind to survive your relationship breakdown?

1. You are not delusional. Many times after a breakup, women second guess themselves – and begin to think that they were not actually in love, or that it wasn’t true love to begin with. Just because the relationship ended does not negate the reality of your feelings.

2. Don’t play the “What If?” game. Don’t spend time wondering about what could happen (“Will he find someone else? Will his new partner be prettier/smarter/a better cook than me?”) Trying to imagine what will happen only prolongs your heartache, and is not helping you to recover. Spend your time focusing on moving past the relationship.

3. Release the anger. Anger is an important part of the stages of grief. You need to feel anger – it helps you to move beyond the relationship. Don’t hold on to the anger for too long. Sometimes anger becomes a habit and is causing more harm than good. Feel anger, and then move on.

4. Let go of the connection. It is tempting to go back to the relationship – even after it is over. Many women want to beg their ex to take them back, promising to change or do things differently. Accept the end of the relationship. Don’t try to force a broken relationship to work.

5. Get help. Find a support group – family and friends are a great place to start. If you are not near people who can give you the support and encouragement you need, consider joining a therapy or support group. If you have thoughts of suicide or of acting out in anger, seek professional therapy or counselling.

6. Understand your worth. Just because your relationship ended, it does not mean that you are unworthy or unable to be loved. Not everyone is capable of giving you the love you need. This isn’t your fault! You have immense value and worth – keep looking until you find the person who appreciates and recognizes it.

7. Onward and upward. It may seem like the end of the world – but it will get better. Focus on taking care of yourself: healthy eating, exercise and proper rest; as well as making changes in your life that are for the better. As you begin to heal, you’ll find that you are moving beyond the heartbreak and into a place of wholeness that will be a good starting point for a new relationship.

Heartbreak can give you a new perspective on the world. You may learn to appreciate the value of a love you once had, or may make you appreciate the small pleasures of sitting quietly in the park and watching the birds.

Use heartbreak to motivate you to try a new experience, meet new people or travel to new places. Yes heartbreak hurts. But it does heal, and you can recover. Don’t be afraid to let yourself get better, you only have to be willing to take a chance on yourself – and love.

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Nov 17, 2017

The Post-Divorce Dating Game

The idea of starting to date after a divorce is enough to make a grown woman break out in hives. A divorce is a traumatic event and will take time to not only recover but to decide that you are ready for a new relationship. Especially if you are coming out of a long marriage, it can be overwhelming to consider going on a date with someone new. How can you survive the new world of dating after your divorce is final?

1. Are you ready to start dating? Just because you are divorced, you don’t have to jump right back into dating. Give yourself time to move through the stages of grief before even considering entering the dating world. When you have reached the point of forgiveness for your ex, then you will know you are on the road to recovery. Once the idea of dating doesn’t make you want to run and hide, then you are more than likely ready to start dating.

2. It’s ok to be afraid. Someone once said that courage isn’t the absence of fear – it’s the knowing you’re afraid and doing something anyway. Dating after divorce requires courage of a whole different level. How do you let people know that you are ready to start dating? It is perfectly normal to be anxious about dating again – start slowly. Tell a few close friends that you’re looking to meet someone new start going to parties or social events – don’t feel like you need to be in a rush.

3. What are you looking for? Determine what you’re looking for before you begin dating. Are you looking for another long term relationship? Do you just want to meet some new people or have fun? Once you can identify what you’re looking for, you will be able to steer your dating choices towards that goal. You may change your mind after a while, so remember to re-evaluate your dating goal periodically.

4. Join the media revolution. Chances are good that online dating wasn’t an option when you first started dating. Now, it is a primary means of meeting and getting to know people who have similar interests. Check out one of the reputable online dating services to give you the opportunity to meet potential dates. A great way to avoid the awkwardness of meeting someone in a coffee shop or bar, online dating gives you a safe way to narrow down the options.

5. Date around. Finding the courage to date again can make you feel like the first person you date should just be the next relationship. Don’t fall into this trap! Date a few people and get an idea of what you want in your next relationship. Be upfront with the people you’re dating – let them know that you are seeing other people casually.

Dating after divorce is a nerve-racking experience. The most important thing to remember is to be yourself – take this opportunity to explore new activities and meet new people. There is life after divorce – it may take time, but it will happen.

Nov 16, 2017

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Every relationship is a series of give and take – sometimes you give more, sometimes you take more. A healthy relationship moves back and forth between the two areas, with ease and understanding.
When a relationship is in its beginning stages, it is important to set healthy boundaries to ensure the success of the relationship. If boundaries are not set, either one or the other of the members of the relationship may begin to feel imposed upon, and will be unhappy in the relationship. This leads to breakup and discontent.

Boundaries are both physical and emotional. Physical boundaries include the ideas of who can touch us, and how they can touch us. A random stranger in the grocery store has a different set of boundaries than your mom, for example.

If your mom hugged you, you probably wouldn’t react with shock or discomfort. Physical boundaries are important to help you feel physically safe and comfortable.

Emotional boundaries are equally as important. Boundaries in your emotions dictate how you respond to people around you. If you feel as though you are responsible for someone else’s emotional well-being, you have a low level of emotional boundaries.

People who have low emotional boundaries generally have chaotic lives – full of drama and stress.

Analyze your own emotional boundaries at the beginning of a relationship to help identify areas where you need to work. Boundaries that are too tight can be seen in a person who never lets anyone get too close.

They seem distant and self-reliant. They generally have very tight physical and emotional boundaries – no one is allowed within the rigid walls of their person.

Someone with loose boundaries is often sexually promiscuous, is easily hurt and easily angered. They have no protection or boundary line, and are in constant need of reassurance. The person with no boundaries is easily hurt – both physically and emotionally.

A healthy set of boundaries is firm, but flexible. There are definite areas that are off limits, but the boundary may change as circumstances change. At the beginning of a relationship, for example, there may be limited physical contact, but as the relationship progresses, the boundary of physical touch may change.

Emotionally, someone may be held at arm’s length until they have shown themselves to be trustworthy and secure. Not everyone will respect your boundaries – be firm in your boundary setting and choose your relationships wisely.

It is important to discuss your boundaries with the person you are in a relationship with. This can be handled in a calm and friendly manner, letting the other person know that you value their friendship but that there are certain restrictions to the relationship.
Boundary setting is a continual process and can lead to a sense of self-worth and self-appreciate. It is exciting to know that you can be your true self with another person, and that they understand and know the real you. Don’t be afraid to establish relationship boundaries at the beginning of a new relationship – they set the stage for a lasting and secure relationship.

Nov 15, 2017

Date Nights: More Than a Fun Night Out

Couples throughout time and the world recall the one date when everything clicked. In the story of their relationship, this date is they share with family and friends. The pinnacle date proves unique, but it links to every other date like a string of pearls connecting their history and future. Looking at date nights, couples could discount their importance, not see their benefits or be fresh out of ideas.

More Than Optional

Talk to anyone in relationship about the point when things became stale and they indicate the loss of romance, fun, commitment or perhaps all three. If asked at the beginning, the wild passion would have blinded them to a bland future because people rarely plan for the slow decline of anything, much less a relationship. Everyone, even the most stoic, needs these energizing aspects in their relationship. People want to feel valued, heard and considered. The lack of these things cause people to seek it elsewhere.

How Can a Date Night Help?

The act of setting aside time and making a plan permits couples an escape from their routines. Most established and effective patterns aid smooth transitions from one aspect of life to another. Dates are not always about things going smoothly. Running out of gas on a date creates space for a quite conversation walking hand in hand. Time away helps each person see their partner as an individual with interests, dreams and quirks rather than some relational icon. Also a pleasant delay happens within a date allowing intimacy to build. Pursuing each other kindles fun and playfulness. In this fertile ground, romance can blossom.

Don't Need to Be an Artist

"I'm not that creative." The phrase of surrender for everyone. Guess what? It does not represent a relational escape hatch. Everyone loves to be seen and known intimately. The agreement struck should never be one sided. The most buttoned up partner can step up because of their investment in the relationship. Before we start with date night ideas, some ground rules need to be put in place.

* Date nights can occur in daylight.
* Be aware of personal tastes meaning don't take someone involved with animal rights to a bull fight.
* Both partners should participate in spearheading a date night as the responsibility does not fall to one person.
* Not everything requires a bank loan, so look for low cost options.
* Make it fun.

With those as the foundation, here are some ideas to get date night rolling. Be aware all of these options have a variety of commitments and costs. Time taken in research demonstrates care partners have for one another.

Dance Lessons: Several dance studios offer free introductory lessons or packages. What could be more tender and intimate than learning to move in unison with your partner? Also, it might open up avenues for other date nights like monthly salsa dancing at a local club.

Picnics: Preparing a meal, packaging it up and carrying it to local park demonstrates ones knowledge of the other person. No one hates the thought of being whisked away and fed. Selecting a few specialty meats and cheeses would be a nice touch. Though tempting, avoid bologna because this is a date and not lunch.

National Parks: Hiking surrounded by nature and national monuments allow for good conversations. Selecting a time when the park will be less crowded, like a Tuesday morning when kids are in school and others at work, places couples in a grand and intimate setting. Also, look at the previous idea for a combo of park and picnic.

Brewery/Winery/Food Tour: With the proliferation of local artisanal foods and drinks, sites like breweries and ice creameries offer free or low cost tours with samples. Feeding each other a specialty cheese while meeting the goats who produced the milk will open the senses and feel like an adventure. Those raising goats should find another option.

As you can see, date night is a critical part of any relationship. Those who ignore time alone with their partner will do so at the peril of their future. Take the time, do the research and have fun connecting. You'll be glad you did and so will your partner.

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Nov 14, 2017

Indicators of Exit Strategies

Everyone believes they possess keen insight into their partner's moods and thoughts. Unfortunately, people rarely have an accurate assessment of everything the other person in their life is saying. This is why it is important to pay attention. Tiny items add up and possibly point to a plan the partner might be unaware they have.

All Is Quiet: Everyone seeks time of solitude and silence. Random moments of quiet is not an obvious concern. When this becomes a pattern of behavior, red flags should be raised. A good course of action in the face of this is small engagements of non threatening topics. If they refuse to talk about these items, a pending demise to the relationship presents as a possibility.

Going It Alone: Someone making plans to leave a relationship will begin making decisions on their own. They usually start with small things like a new piece of clothing or accessory. If asked about it, they might attribute it to liking it and wanting to get it. These small decisions escalate until they unilaterally make choices in the best interest of themselves and not the relationship.

No Check Ins: A sharp drop in the number of contacts throughout the day or on a trip could easily point a lack of concern about the other person. Someone not thinking about the other leads to not make the effort. A person operating alone might be preparing to exit. Probing into this behavior tends to put person on the defensive. Awareness proves the most prudent course of action.

Not a Team Player: Though a couple comprised of two people never fully abandon their individuality, hearing a partner talk about each member as separate entities might mean they no longer see a cohesive whole. Watching subtle bits of communication like the reduction in the number of plural pronouns demonstrate where their mind is focused. Conversational awareness is important when picking up on these cues. They might not use "we" or "us" referring to your latest business trip. Clearly, not doing discussing your last romantic get away is a concern.

Out of the Blue: A sudden change in a partner's thoughts, feelings or beliefs on an issue demonstrates detachment. With an increase in multiple things, a new topic might slip through the cracks. A healthy relationship will allow one partner to ask for an explanation as to why a particular issue trigger a line of thought. Also, be aware of the small things too. Just because it does not seem like a big deal, the less significant appearing items might point toward a changing attitude in general.

Future Free: One partner no longer talking about plans for beyond the weekend may show they do not intend to be around long enough for the long term to impact them. Take a couple who might have been discussing a change in residence and one of them begins deflecting ideas about locations or types of homes. Clearly, their heart is no longer looking to the time when they will be in the new place together. The most severe form of this thinking happens when the partner say something foreboding like "We might not even be together then." Take these subtle threats seriously because the speaker might not even know they plan to go.

Relationships are difficult, even the best ones. Leaping on a solitary action, conversation or event adds to the stress of an already fraught circumstance. Be patient, but aware. Being part of a team means keeping communication open. In such an environment, partners discuss aspects of what is happening, including if the time has come to a close.

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Nov 13, 2017

Relationship Reintroduction

Every relationship begins rife with potential for the heights of pleasure and pain. What happens when the couple has witnessed those rolling peaks and valleys? Coming back into a relationship, especially after its demise, cause people to be wary. While caution shows wisdom, cutting off any future with a previous partner might be an unnecessary surrender. So, what are some some signs demonstrating the relationship potential of the person returning? Checking these items might give a indication whether to reestablishing with one another.

Reopening Communications

Everyone receives messages from an old partner from time to time. It might be a random phone call or text or message on social media. Depending on what happened, the natural reaction might be to delete it and ignore the contact. The original relationshipo and its end brings the greatest evidence of how to proceed following the contact. Was it toxic? Did they cheat? Were they immature? Any of these would be a good reason to power through without stopping. However, relationships end for numerous reasons including distance, different goals or not being ready to move to the next level. Listening to them can be an important first step. If they want to reconnect, there might be a reason and it never hurts to hear what they say realizing you are under no commitment to them.

Things Always Change

One of the great things about people is how adaptable they are. When faced with a situation, they possess the potential to change to meet the challenge. An event in someone's life can cause them to reevaluate old relationships. They might realize in the course of a difficult time the relationship they previously held dear is the best place for them. Some events creating a crucible in which deep consideration of the heart to occur can be health scares, loss of a family member or person close to them, crises of conscious or a deep dissatisfaction with their lives. Knowing this explains why they have returned, but hearing the outcome of the trial is where the new person they have become will shine. Meeting the new person, the person impacted by change, will give a glimpse as to the type of relationship to come and how it may vary from the previous.

Look for Evidence

The main source of information is the returning person. While they should be given a chance, the partner allowing them back should take every opportunity to confirm the data they receive. Talking to people in their lives, including those who were around during the first incarnation of the relationship, will give substantiate what they have witnessed. If the person struggled with certain behaviors, key in on those. Are they less prone to angry outbursts? Have they taken an active role in charity or the community? Have they shown a level of consistency with these things? Trusting while verifying with outside sources gives a clearer picture of the person coming back into a partner's life.

Is This What You Want?

This can be the biggest question of all. The person might have changed and be a great person. But those facts do not overshadow the truth they were in your life for a season and then moved away from the relationship. This question is so challenging because of the mix of history and hope. Feeling like this person is known while seeing how they have genuinely changed might cloud one's judgement. It is important to take stock of the situation soberly before permitting them back.

This is the question facing everyone because no one does not have someone they think would be the ideal match if they would have done one thing or the other. Occasionally, they come back and they have changed in that way. Realize their return does not obligate anyone to take them back. That said, slamming every door on every occasion prevents true hope for the future to spring in the heart. Remain open, cautious and hopeful.

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Nov 12, 2017

Top Romantic Meals

Food shows love in the most unique way. A meal can transport a person to the time when they felt safe and warm. Taking time to prepare something for a loved one requires time, planing and patience. Going on this journey with a partner opens the relationship with opportunities for growth and sharing.

What to Make?

Considering the options available, people receiving a homemade, romantic meal almost never find the gesture empty. The only wrong answers revolve around personal tastes, dietary restrictions and lifestyle choices. For some, a huge slab of beef cooked over an open fire is the pinnacle of care. But a practicing vegetarian would view the offering as an affront. A key is to be aware of a partner's preferences and tastes.

Simple and Challenging Options

Chicken: A versatile ingredient with a long history of accepting a variety of cooking styles and sauces while pairing with several side dishes.

Simple: Roasted Leg Quarter-A well seasoned quarter roasted in the oven with the skin and bone locks in moisture and flavor.

Challenging: Chicken Cordon Bleu-The contrasts of a ham and cheese stuffed chicken breasts offers a palette of flavors and displays a level of sophistication.

Seafood: A light main course when prepared properly gives an indication of a cook's skill and flair.
Simple: Pan Seared Scallops-This firm shellfish remains tender and accepts a light, garlic butter sauce while bursting with natural flavor

Challenging: Seafood Stew with Cod and Shrimp-A dish requiring time and attention to mingle the subtle spices while keeping the individual ingredients from losing their integrity.

Vegetarian: A well designed meatless meal for those whose diet excludes animal proteins demonstrates creativity and willingness to think outside the box.

Simple: Mushroom Tart-Earthy flavors served on a light, flaky crust and topped with goat cheese provides a tasty and filling main course for a romantic evening.

Challenging: Hot Italian Peppers Stuffed with Herb Risotto-A layered dish demonstrates a melding of textures while offering a break from more routine vegetarian fare.

Pasta: An all in one meal focusing on the balance of simple, fresh ingredients to create a display of care greater than the sum of its parts.

Simple: Pasta Carbonara-While easy to view this as a simple bowl of pasta, a powerful impression is made in proper cooking and sauce presentation.

Challenging: Lasagna-Preparation is where romance is generated in this dish as pasta, tomato sauce, cheese and meat or vegetables meld into a single mouthful of love.

Dessert: Romance and creativity can be encapsulated in the sweetness of the final course.

Simple: Berry Cobbler-Fresh berries, sugar, butter and flour combine to wrap a couple in a warm hug chilled with only a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Challenging: Chocolate Lava Cake-The first ingredient screams romance and its decadence only increases as heat transforms it into lava form.

Food links people. Couples can share meaningful conversations over a well planned meal. The important thing to remember is it is not the cost, time or fanciful foods causing the greatest impact. It is the implicit care placed into the meal. The same care elevates a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich through the infusion of love.

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